Monday, July 7, 2014

False Claims: Hobby Lobby and the Truth Behind Contraceptives

After the extremely controversial Supreme Court decision on Monday, June  30th, a national debate has arisen regarding the science behind birth control. Hobby Lobby, a for-profit corporation, used the argument of religious freedom in order to be exempt from Obamacare standards in providing certain types of birth control to their employees. The birth control that supposedly goes against their religious beliefs are Plan B and IUDs. On July 1st, Marisa Taylor wrote the article, “Hobby Lobby verdict overlooks the science on pregnancy, experts say”
for Aljazeera America. The article discusses how scientific evidence shows that these contraceptives are
not the same or even similar to having an abortion, as Hobby Lobby claims.

The article makes clear the distinction between pregnancy, abortion, and contraceptives. Pregnancy, as defined by national health organizations as well as the United States government, is “the implantation of the fertilized egg into the uterine wall.” Hobby Lobby states that pregnancy begins when the sperm meets the egg, despite the clear scientific definitions. Regardless of the
differing definitions, one fact is made absolutely clear by this article: contraceptives, such as Plan B, ella, and IUDs, do NOT stop pregnancy, even by the Hobby Lobby definition, once it has started. Plan B and ella work so that ovulation does not occur and therefore there is no egg to fertilize. Kelly Cleland, a researcher from Princeton’s OPR, put it bluntly: “The evidence is very, very clear that Plan B only works before ovulation.” IUDs work similarly in that they do
not allow the sperm to reach the egg. Dissenting Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg spoke out about this specific discrepency: “The owners of the companies involved in these cases and others who believe that life begins at conception regard these four methods as causing
abortions, but federal regulations, which define pregnancy as beginning at implantation, do not so classify them.”

This article and argument adds to the complexities of the Supreme Court's decision made on Monday. It adds another component to criticize the SCOTUS decision and question the science and meanings behind Hobby Lobby’s stance. James Trussell, a professor and emergency contraceptive expert at Princeton’s Office of Population Research, ended the article
with a great quote:
“You can believe one of two things. Either they [the companies opposing use
of emergency contraception] are very stupid, or they don’t believe in science. But there is no other explanation.”

-Emily Schacter